Protesters delivered an 'alternative coronation proclamation' to Market SquareFELIX ARMSTRONG FOR VARSITY

Alongside the various tributes held to the new King over the weekend, numerous anti-coronation events highlighted Cambridge’s complicated relationship with the Trinity College alum. Republican protests were held in Market Square on Saturday (06/05), and the Sir Isaac Newton pub hosted a ‘not bothered party’ later in the evening.

Four protesters occupied the Guildhall balcony in the morning - delivering an “alternative proclamation for the coronation” to Market Square. After climbing a ladder up to the balcony, protesters then hung a ‘Not My King’ banner from the railings. Demonstrators were disguised with masks of various royal family members and equipped with a megaphone. One shouted, “This is a draconian state, this is a police state,” from atop the balcony.

Police were called but seemingly allowed the demonstrators to leave without arrestFelix Armstrong for Varsity

Speaking with Varsity, an organiser stated, “We face so many crises right now - public money should be spent on pay rises for nurses, rail workers, teachers. It should be spent on housing and benefits”.

They went on to say: “How ridiculous is it that people across the country are going without food while we spend tens of millions on a party for an old man in a silly hat?”

The protestors assembled in front of Senate HouseFelix Armstrong for Varsity

The ‘alternative proclamation’ aimed to draw attention to the millions in taxpayers’ money being spent on the coronation, police arrests of republican protesters, and the imperial legacy of the crown.

“The coronation uses symbols of Britain’s colonial heritage - including physical items stolen from countries that Britain violently invaded and pillaged. If that’s what we stand for as a country, I want nothing to do with it,” said an organiser.

The demonstration, organised by a mix of students and non-students, polarised the assembled crowd on Market Square. Some joined in with chants of ‘Not my King,’ while others aggressively shouted up to the balcony - as one man berated the protestors from inside Guildhall before calling the police. The police did arrive as the protesters were dispersing, but seemed to allow them to go without incident.

Later in the day, a silent protest by the ‘Women in Black’ lined up in front of the Guildhall. Members had signs round their necks, one reading “not my empire”.

The organisers of the two protests spoke together about “how the British monarchy represents colonial violence”.

A ‘People’s Picnic’ was later held on King’s Parade, with free pasta and leaflets distributed, as well as chants of ‘Not my King’ in front of Senate House.


Mountain View

Trinity College alum crowned king

Other anti-coronation events were less serious than the protests in central Cambridge. The Sir Isaac Newton pub, near Murray Edwards, decided to host an alternative event to the coronation, dubbed the ‘not bothered party’.

On coronation day, the pub was decorated with bunting that read “happy generic evening”, and ‘Coronation Ale’ was renamed ‘Generic Ale’. A fetching cardboard cutout featuring David Attenborough’s face was also labelled “the real King”.

The ‘not bothered party’ wasn’t officially anti-monarchist, but styled itself as a safe space for anti-monarchists to enjoy the evening of the coronation, with some republicans present at the event. The pub made it clear that the event was simply an alternative to coronation celebrations, not an anti-monarchist protest.

The events stood in stark contrast to coronation celebrations also held around the city. Trinity held an event in honour of their alumnus’ coronation, in which students gathered to celebrate the occasion. King’s held a similar event on Sunday, with other colleges also joining in the celebrations, many offering viewing of the coronation. University representatives also attended a special service at Great St Mary’s on Sunday to mark King Charles III’s ascension to the throne.